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  • What’s a Good Artist?


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    What does it take to be an artist?

    Well, it takes a desire to create art, and the initiative to act on that desire.

    If you’ve ever drawn a picture, molded clay into a form you’ve imagined, glued paper scraps into a collage, or in some other way have designed and assembled a creative work, then you ARE an artist.

    What does it take to be a good artist?

    Some would say it requires a Bachelors or a Master’s degree in art, and yet one of the world’s most well-known and best-loved artist, Van Gogh, attended several different art schools with sporadic attendance, and didn’t actually graduate from any of them.  He also disagreed with much of what he was taught.  In spite of that, he produced a great number of treasured, beautiful works such as the two below.

    “Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Vincent van Gogh – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

     

     

    VanGogh-starry night
    Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

     

    Grandma Moses never went to Art School at all.

    1918 fireboard byGrandmaMoses
    By Grandma Moses [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

     In addition, there are, or have been many other accomplished artists with all levels of art education, from none at all, to those holding several degrees in different disciplines of art.  So, it would seem that educational level is not a valid indicator of what makes a good artist.

    To me, it stands to reason that a good artist is an artist who creates good art.

    So What is good art?  Answering that question, is of course,  impossible.  There are as many definitions of what is “good” art as there are people to look at art. Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes good art, from Jackson Pollock’s seemingly random spatters of paint, to Picasso’s distorted-looking portraits, all the way to pencil drawings so realistic they can be mistaken for a black and white photograph.  Such as the works in the video below, there are many different kinds of art, all “good” in their own way.

     

     

    In my opinion, the best way to decide if you are a good artist,  is to ask if your art is something that brings you satisfaction?  Not just in the creation of it, but in the finished product as well.  Do you look at what you’ve created and feel pleasure, or do you feel nothing but frustration?  Now, I don’t mean that when you look at your work you should see no problems, or see no room for improvement, but overall, are you pleased with your work even though you may still see some problems or areas you need to improve in?  If so, that is as accurate a definition of good art as any I can think of, so if you’ve created even one piece of art that meets that criteria, you are a good artist!

    In that sense,  I too can call myself a good artist.  There are many of my works that bring me pleasure when I view them.  However, not all of them do.

    Those who have followed my blog for some time are aware of how dissatisfied I often am with the skies in my paintings, and how even with the few that I am happy with, it was usually a huge struggle and challenge to get them to that point.  Any sky with more than a tiny wispy cloud in it is the bane of my existence as an artist.  The idea of plain blue skies in every painting also doesn’t really appeal to me.

    So, I’ve decided to tackle that problem the way I do every challenge I face as an artist.  I will practice, and practice, and practice some more.  I will look at the work of those I feel have mastered that element, and I will try to learn how they did it, I may even reproduce it (though not to claim as my own, just for practice).

    I will persist with this practice until I look at the sky in front of me, or at a photo I’ve taken of the sky, or even just imagine the sky I want, and render it in a painting to my satisfaction without hours of struggle and repainting.

    In order to do that, I’ve decided that once a week, I will paint a practice sky, it will usually be small, on paper, possibly as small as an index card.  One a week, until I no longer feel that a sky is an insurmountable challenge to me.

    No matter what day I actually do the painting, I will post it on Sunday, and call it “Sunday Skies”. I will begin this feature on Sunday, January 25th.

     

    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog by entering your email address at the bottom of the page,  or follow me on Google+.   See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Fine Art America is the place to go for unsigned Prints of all my Paintings.

     

    My Etsy shop is the place to go to buy my originals that I haven’t added to this site yet, I sell a few select prints there also, and there you can choose if you’d like me to  sign them before shipping!  Eventually I’ll move all of my fine art products to this page, and leave only crafts on Etsy, but for now my art is in both places.


  • Trial Error, Error, Trial, Repeat

    Yesterday was another day of website building.  There are some things with WordPress that drive me crazy.  When I post the link to my website on Facebook, it doesn’t have a thumbnail image on it, and I’ve tried all the tutorials to fix the problem, but it persists.

    In spite of that, my website is coming along.  I am making progress with it.  I’ve imported past blog posts there, and for a while I’ll be posting on both, but soon I’ll be moving.  I hope that those who have followed me on blogger will come over to this  WordPress site and follow me here as well.

    In addition to the website work, I’ve added up the cost of doing business as an artist over the past year, and compared that to what I’ve made in sales.  I  just wanted  to find out how much money I’ve made lost as an artist.  Well, I won’t share details, but I will say that I can see where the term starving artist comes from!  I didn’t expect to make a profit over last year, but I did expect a smaller deficit than I saw.

    On an encouraging note,  there were a lot of expenses that I won’t have to repeat any time soon, like buying a canopy for art shows, tables for the canopy, a cart to move supplies with at art shows, and other big-ticket items like that.  I also had quite a few prints and cards made of my most popular paintings.  I  still have some leftover stock of those that will carry into this year and perhaps make me a little money.

    Last but not least, I actually got a little painting done, I’m still not happy with the clouds in my sky, but I’m getting closer to what I want.  One thing I am figuring out with this sunset though, is that I have to stop in between colors and let things dry, otherwise my oranges, and purples mix into brown, and my yellows and blues mix into green.  Here are two photos, neither one seems to really be right in color, the first one comes closer but is brighter than the painting really is I think…oh well,  what can you expect from a cell phone?

     IMG_20150118_240431_681~2 IMG_20150117_235650

     

    During my next session I will bring the purple and the blue up further in up in the sky, and cover those strange finger like projections I called clouds.  Then I will try putting in some less finger-like clouds.   Then,  I’ll bring more color into the darker blue water, I’ll cover the lighter blue area with land,  and there will be more land on the other side also, so that the bay comes between where the viewer “stands” and the other side of the bay.  I can see it in my mind now, when before I couldn’t, so hopefully I’ll be able to translate that to the canvas.

     

    I’m not really concerned about how much experimentation this is taking, I mean after all, this is how I’ve learned EVERYTHING I know about painting so far, by trying, messing up, and trying again, until I get I get it right.

     

    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog by entering your email address at the bottom of the page,  or follow me on Google+.   See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Fine Art America is the place to go for unsigned Prints of all my Paintings.

     

    My Etsy shop is the place to go to buy my originals that I haven’t added to this site yet, I sell a few select prints there also, and there you can choose if you’d like me to  sign them before shipping!  Eventually I’ll move all of my fine art products to this page, and leave only crafts on Etsy, but for now my art is in both places.


  • She Sells Seashells…

    Can you say the following poem five times fast?

    She sells seashells by the seashore.
    The shells she sells are surely seashells.
    So if she sells shells on the seashore,
    I’m sure she sells seashore shells.
    Honestly, I stumble when I try to say that quickly, fortunately though, this blog is about my art, not my verbal gymnastics.  So I don’t need to recite rhymes about seashells, I just need to sketch said seashells from the seashore.  So, this was last night’s seashell from the seashore sketch.

    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog with Google Friend connect, or follow me on Google+, or if you prefer, you can follow by email and get notified each time the blog is updated. See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

     

  • Every Day in May, May 10

    Today’s challenge was to draw something creepy.  Being the die-hard Whovian that I am… this is what I came up with!

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • Every Day in May, Day 9

    Today’s EDiM challenge was simple.  Draw a lock.
    Since it was simple, I decided to keep it that way and drew a very simple lock in a very dimple medium (graphite).

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • Every Day in May Days Four through Eight

    Well, I fell way, way, behind in the Every Day in May Challenge, so tonight I made it all up in one night.

    Here are the sketches:

    May 4th

    May 5th
    May 6th
    May 7th
    May 8th

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • Every Day in May #3

    So its Day number 3 of the Every Day in May challenge, and today’s topic is “Something that Represents Joy”

    This was easy to think of.  I am trying to limit these EDiM sketches to 15 or 20 minutes most days, so that I still have time for my other art, after all, I know that the Gallery owner who shows my work wants me to come up with a painting that has something to do with wine… plus he said he’d like to see more small scale landscapes that he could sell for $100 or less.  (Basically that means 8×10 or smaller).

    I also have an order for a pet portrait to get done… so I can’t spend hours on these sketches.

    Today’s sketch took around 15 minutes, coloring included… and it shows, I mean its not straight, the form and perspective are a bit off, its too skinny proportionally… but anyway, here it is:

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • The Chrome Monster gets a New Name.

    Once upon a time there was, living in the mind of an artist, an idea to paint a picture of one of the coolest cars in the history of American cars.  So this artist, although she had never attempted to paint anything shiny or reflective before, decided to paint a Chevy Bel Air from the mid 1950’s, she ended up deciding on a 1956 since she had reference photos of that year available to her.

    So this artist started off, and kept telling herself that she could figure out a way to paint all of that shiny red metal, and silvery, reflective chrome.  She had no idea how she was going to do it, but just started painting what she saw, carefully matching values and colors, though she changed a few things like the photographer’s reflection in the bumper of the reference photo.

    It was a difficult painting, and while working on it the artist bestowed on it the name of “Chrome Monster” as she realized just how much of that challenging, shiny surface the 1956 Chevy had.  In her head, as she painted, she kept reminding herself, “don’t worry, paint what you see, the printer didn’t have any metalic ink, and it managed to produce a picture of chrome, so can you.”.

    Finally, after many days, she stepped back and looked at the painting and realized that it was done.  She was so happy with the result that she no longer saw it as monster, and instead decided to name it the “Chrome King”.

    And here it is:
    Photography Prints

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • A Great Painting Tutorial!

    Well, in preparation for painting the “Chrome Monster” I mentioned in my last post, I started looking for instructional videos for painting metal objects.  I found this great one, and noted that the YouTube channel has lots of other interesting looking tutorials as well.

    Embedding has been disabled on this almost hour long free art lesson, but I am posting it here anyway so that anyone who wishes may go watch it on YouTube:

    So, click here to watch it!

    And Click Here to Check Out More on the Channel!

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints